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Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,303 ratings  ·  147 reviews
The second edition of the "consultant's bible" is here!

For over fifteen years, consultants--both internal and external--have relied on Peter Block's landmark bestseller, Flawless Consulting, to learn how to deal effectively with clients, peers, and others. Using illustrative examples, case studies, and exercises, the author, one of the most important and well known in hi
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Hardcover, Second Edition, 400 pages
Published September 29th 1999 by Pfeiffer (first published January 14th 1987)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Greg
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Since Goodreads lost my old review while trying to upload it, I'll give you this. I think Block focuses a lot more on being blameless as a consultant than on being effective. I agree in principle with lots of what he says, but the overarching idea was the downfall of this book in my eyes. I can't stand the kind of advice that admonishes well-paid experts to constantly deny their responsibility for the outcomes of projects and to distribute the blame for their projects by coercing everyone in the ...more
Don Massenzio
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
A number of years ago, I found myself without a job for the first time in my adult life. At 40, this was scary until I woke up one morning, created a subchapter-S corporation and became a consultant. This book, along with others by Peter Block, was a significant help in getting started and having the confidence to persevere for two years independently. Now I'm a consultant in a big four firm and the things I learned from this book still ring true. ...more
Tim
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, business
From the dust jacket: "Flawless Consulting affirms the notion that authentic behavior and personal relationships are the key to technical and business success." That's really the book in a nutshell. Not that that isn't a valuable insight. But you can save yourself a bunch of time by not reading the book, because the book mainly restates that premise over and over again using every combination of words the author could think of to say basically same thing.

The author makes the case that people ar
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Lars Plougmann
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazingly comprehensive "manual" to consulting. It covers techniques in detail while also discussing mindset and sharing recommendations.

The author's focus is on the process of consulting. The title is derived from this process view: If you followed the process, then you consulted flawlessly, regardless of the outcome. Therein lies a seed of humility: As consultants, we learn, advise, recommend, and encourage action - we do not have the power to guarantee outcomes.

For all the wisdom i
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Erin Kross
Apr 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
TLDR
Scott Wozniak
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wish I could give this book five stars--is has that much good content. But it's so formal in style that it reads like a textbook. It's a really, really good textbook, though. If you're someone who helps other people solve problems, whether a traditional consultant or a coach, a teacher or even a leader, then this book has rich insights for you. Be patient and read slowly. Each paragraph has as much content as some chapters do in other books. It will be worth it. ...more
Jay
Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is a textbook. However, great book to read for understanding the people within organizations. Recognizing the barriers to success include allowing the tension to build within a conversation to the point of uncomfortable. Then guiding people through the tension with recognition of each silos perspective towards a new balancing point in the dichotomy of leadership and power within an organization is productive.

Or the alternative is watching a few of sharks fight it out while tearing the place,
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Petras Lenkutis
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book for looking at authentic side of consulting. It contains philosophy with grounding why suggested way of consulting should work based on author experience. Also it contains process in which to conduct consulting that would be both professional and authentic. As my lecturer in a university commented - "a consulting in a humane way". Currently I use this book as a guide to establish my own consulting practice and it sure helps for important things not to slip through my fingers in times ...more
Megan
Feb 11, 2022 rated it really liked it
This book resonated with me and challenged me at the same time. I found many ideas I could apply immediately. I have shared so many of its nuggets of wisdom with others as I have been reading it. It is also evident how her thinking had changed over time and which content is new as part of the second edition.
Ann
Apr 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Read it for work. Decent, relevant to the work we are doing, but not life changing.
Alex
Nov 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Flawless Consulting' is the kind of nuts-and-bolts guide every consultant needs to improve every aspect of the process, from scoping the problem to following through months after conclusion.

As a listening experience, it's fine: the narrator is clear and easy to understand, and I was able to listen to this book at around a 2.5x pace. However, this book is meant to be read, to be marked up and tabbed, to be referenced again and again. For those interested in the subject matter, I recommend purcha
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Fred Rose
I picked up a public policy capstone class to teach this semester and this book was suggested for the students, who are doing consulting projects for government entities (cities, counties, state agencies, etc.). It's fine book, has good basic material and a website for checklists. My primary concern is it is way too expensive (over $60 for a hardcover) for pretty basic information. There isn't anything here you couldn't find elsewhere online. ...more
Shyamashree Rudra
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I really liked Peter Block's "Flawless Consulting". This book was originally written in 1978, and then revised in 1998. I expected the book to be dated and irrelevant, but it wasn't. The concepts that Block wrote about many years ago are still very much applicable today.
Having been a consultant for 6 years, I especially liked this book because it focuses on the style of consulting I like (or rather liked!) to do -- improving the capability of the client to find and implemen
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Pamela Tucker
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So far so good, and I think this book is written for professionals who already have competencies for working with people in consulting. I also think if you want to read this book keep in mind this book has a companion book too! The Flawless Consulting Fieldbook & Companion A Guide To Understanding Your Expertise. Peter Block, who has focused attention on consulting skills, empowerment processes, and reclaiming our individuality.

As these books will guide a professional to know all the stages and
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Jan
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tremendous foundation of experience, but oddly longwinded and rather boring to read cover to cover. Probably much better to have listened to a lecture series by the author. True value probably first to appear when used as point of reference
Mark Smith
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dry read for me

This book I found a little dry. It was hard for me to stick with it. But like every book there was value. Insights I had not thought of and refection on my one exprrence and ways to do things differently.
Will Mosher
If you're already an experienced consultant I'm not sure how useful it would be, but it is a great overview/introduction to the field (and free of "execuspeak"). ...more
Sooraj
Jan 22, 2022 rated it it was amazing
If there is one thing I will take away from this book, it is this: when your passionate ideas are not getting accepted or when you have difficulties convincing or selling, just take a step back, let go your passions and emotions and think: If I were an external consultant instead of an employee or a team member, what would I do?
Considered one of the best books on consulting, I recommend it as a read for all professionals aspiring to be freelance consultants, or working in organizations in adviso
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Sooraj
Jan 22, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If there is one thing I will take away from this book, it is this: when your passionate ideas are not getting accepted or when you have difficulties convincing or selling, just take a step back, let go your passions and emotions and think: If I were an external consultant instead of an employee or a team member, what would I do?
Considered one of the best books on consulting, I recommend it as a read for all professionals aspiring to be freelance consultants, or working in organizations in adviso
...more
Jeff
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ning-Jia Ong
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I resonated very well with a lot of what Peter Block talks about. In the first few pages, I have already begun to enjoy how he addresses the problem of clients asking for surrogates - us consultants doing the job of the client instead of doing what we're supposed to do - consulting.

His points on making sure we consultants are aware of our own needs as well as our clients was also very valid. Very often we consultants neglect our own needs for more information, for more commitment, for more cont
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Kyle Farris
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bought
This book was remarkably timely for me, and I believe it is an essential read for anyone who consults or otherwise offers counsel/advice. Peter Block put into words some hard lessons I've learned over the years: "A major objective of every consultation is to encourage you to focus on and value the affective, or interpersonal, aspect of the relationship you have with the client" (p. 14). For some, this may come naturally (and likely to a fault). Some professionals are so focused on the interperso ...more
Jonathan Hardy
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is chalk full of great advice and approaches for any interaction where you have a body of work to produce for a client. I'll just share a few of my favorite sentiments:

"Seek for 'Power with' instead of 'Power over.'"

"If you cannot say 'no,' yes has little meaning."

"Manager reassurances do not help because it is a manages job to issue them."

When we come together with a group we put a lot of preparation into presentation but participation is an afterthought. This should be the reverse and par
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Simon Lee
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Block gives a comprehensive and fundamental lesson of delivering good consulting. Rather than just being rational as many did, relationship building and Interpersonal skill is always the key to push through. The right thing to do is to be humble, open and radically transparent throughout the process.

I do recommend this book as it is very down to earth and easy to read. It covers steps and phrases of consulting from contracting, discovery, making decision to implementation. For me, contracting i
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Cyndie Courtney
Sep 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Cyndie by: Julie Buzby
While this book spends most of its time talking about individuals who consult as the job that is on their business card, I found some of the parts of the book where he explains how we might extend similar ideas into other workplaces - such as medicine and education - particularly intriguing. When people ask for our expertise and ultimately we have no control over whether they take it or not - we often fail to take the basic steps to set ourselves up for success or accept the realities with our l ...more
Dave Manning
Apr 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: consulting
So glad I own this book! I read this from the perspective of someone starting a one-person consultancy (small business OD), who has years in management and teaching. The principles here balance both diagnostic problem-focused OD / consulting and also dialogic possibility-focused OD / consulting. Checklists, examples, commentary, reasoning, anecdotes-- it's all there. The only downside is this book is one I'll have to read, re-read, read again, and probably never succeed at incorporating all of i ...more
Chris Esposo
Practical to a T, if you can get around the really bizarre reading style, this is a great first foray into contracting and independent consulting. Covers a lot of important topics like how to size a project and discuss contract deliverables, how to gather information when embedded in client space, and how to direct conversation productively and hear the "indirect messages" made by what is not often said.

Sort of like a guide to being shrewd in corporations. This would be helpful for people both i
...more
Alp Oktay
Apr 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very comprehensive consulting book covering various types of work including strategy, staff augmentation, and implementation. The book walks you through the project lifecycles from the sales to post-production and offers a lot to learn or refresh your mind in each chapter. Despite the comprehensive scope, the main focus of the book is on sales and relationship management.

One thing to consider is that, if you’re looking for different consulting methodologies to improve how you actually work, th
...more
Jasmine Tan
Feb 22, 2021 rated it liked it
A man without years of experience wouldn’t be able to write this book. I’m grateful for Peter Block’s generosity, for sharing his learnings and wisdom with us.

Interesting I don’t see this book as a ‘manual’, I find it more useful as a space for me to reflect on my journey and my consulting style. It was pretty dry when I first read it. But with actual consulting practice, the book connected more with me. I got to revisit the way I approach a problem, put it against Block’s perspective, and ponde
...more
Jules
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: od
As an organizational consultant, this book was enormously valuable to me and reflects quite a bit of what I see to be true in my work. Consulting is really the 'how' of my work, while organizational diagnosis is the 'what.' Diving into the process of partnering with clients to surface and reflect back challenges and opportunities is fascinating (yes, I am a nerd -- but anything that helps you take more of an objective look at your day to day can be!). Block also makes it approachable, if a bit r ...more
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